Monday, March 16, 2009

American Greetings

Moving to a foreign country makes you realize the foods and products that you take for granted while living in your home country. I have talked to expats from different parts of the world and no matter if they are from the USA, UK or even Korea there are items that they miss.

Some stores here do carry a few American products, such as hard shell tacos and Classico spaghetti sauce. There are other stores, such as Price Club and Foreign Buyers Market, that cater to expats and sell particular brands and types of food from their home country –– for an added cost of course. For example, we can get Kraft Mac & Cheese for about $2.50 a box at one of these two stores. Amazon Japan carries a few items, however unless you know the code on the barcode scanners section it is hard to find some of the items.

Then there are other items, that no matter what, are just not able to be bought here. Chewy granola bars, almost any cereal besides Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes and Special K, any candy bars besides Kit Kats, M&Ms and Crunch bars, any turkey or chicken lunch meat, most crackers, pancake mix, any type of syrup that isn't pure maple syrup, almost every salad dressing and any type of medicine and cleaning products are just a few examples. Some of these items can be ordered from a place called Expat Express for only a mere kidney and first grandchild. And other items will just have to wait until we return state-side.

Shannon sent us a little "care" package for Valentines Day full of candy (Reese's Pieces & Take 5 yum!) and single packets of Propel. We have been rationing the candy as it probably cost more to send the package than what was included in it.

There were a few items that we didn't think to stock up on (we probably will never need to buy bar soap, Tylenol, Imodium, tampons, pads, or women's deodorant) before we moved here, so I asked my "personal shopper" Jamie to send us a few much needed items.

With all the walking foot powder is a must. However the only thing you can find here is a spray and is just that, a spray. It has no "odor eating" capability. If you ever sit near Matt in an enclosed space with his black shoes on you will see why this item was needed. Airborne –– with the wild cold and flu bugs around here this season we are all out. While the jury is still out if it actually works, mentally Matt we think it does. And finally, Italian dressing. I brought ranch packets with me, knowing that it was impossible to find ranch dressing here. However, I did not realize the Italian dressing here was not the same as in the states. (Actually may items here are not the same as in the states, but I will save that for another post) So after having to go to several stores for my "list", Jamie was able to send us our package, which arrived safe and sound today.

It is nice having a touch of "America" in our mailbox. And after our home leave this summer we will be bringing back a stash of some of our "missed" things with us. We may have to leave some of our clothes behind, but we will have enough granola bars and Italian dressing to last us awhile.


Madison Richards said...


I spent a year living in Belgium once and I totally understand your dilemma. You do learn to adapt and to go without, but it's strange and makes the transition that much harder. I wish I could send you a great big shipping container full of everything you'll need for the whole year!

It sounds like you're doing well though, all things considered! I love reading about your adventures, so keep blogging on!!


Louise said...

I can't imagine going without some of those staples..I would totally forgo clothing for some of those things ;)
Have a great day. Enjoy your treats!

Terri said...

that has to be tough. I'm a comfort foods and favorite foods eater. If I can't have my carrabba's chicken gratella or my king crab legs once a month I'm grumpy! Not to mention little snacks and stuff.

Ang said...

Wow, those are things you just don't think about. I know my cousin that lives in Japan, during her first year she had so much adjusting to it's 'strange' for her when she comes home for a month or so in the summer. That candy sure looks good though..haha